Wonder woman of rocket science

Now 27 and a soon-to-be mother of three, Fletcher was first exposed to aerospace engineering through an outreach program Lockheed Martin held at her middle school in Georgia. She had always been into math and science. Grocery shopping with her mother, she would mentally calculate the tab before they got to the register. Her father, a construction worker, taught her how to build and problem-solve in physical space. But it wasn’t until the presentation that all those disparate-seeming interests merged into one dream.

That presentation also imprinted on her the importance of leadership and mentorship.

“People in the STEM field—we can’t underestimate the impact that we can have on a student,” says Fletcher, who earned an aero/astro degree at MIT. So she and her husband, fellow aerospace engineer Myron Fletcher, formed the group Rocket with the Fletchers to show kids from underrepresented groups what it’s like to be an engineer. They have an active social media presence and do speaking engagements sponsored by organizations like MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs and Disney Dreamers. 

Fletcher has also coauthored the book Wonder Women of Science, which tells the stories of 12 “amazing scientists who happen to be women,” she says. In addition to herself, they include MIT Media Lab director Dava Newman, SM ’89, SM ’89, PhD ’92, a former deputy administrator of NASA, and Mareena Robinson Snowden, PhD ’17, the first Black woman to earn a PhD in nuclear engineering from MIT. 

In the book, she admits that in her time at MIT she struggled to believe in her own abilities. “I would say, ‘You know what? Why should I even be an aerospace engineer? I might like it, but maybe I’m just not good at it.’ And my support system allowed me to pick myself back up,” she says. From professors and staff members to family and friends back home, a network of loved ones and mentors made sure she didn’t give up on her dreams. 

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